You can get flashcards or magentic letters very cheaply, and use those to teach the letter sounds, or just point them out in the newspaper, street signs, etc.
I would stay away from those boxed curriculums- they are expensive, boring, and unnecessary (IMHO). Most people who start out homeschooling spend a lot of money on things they never use. Make use of your public library, buy used if you decide you really do want something, or trade. A kindergarten aged child doesn't need much, so keep it simple.
You don't have to buy expensive programs. You can do it yourself but don't expect it to happen overnight. You didn't say the age(s) of your child(ren) but here is what worked for me: (and I have a Kindergartener reading on the third grade level).
First and foremost, create a literate environment. Read to your child, starting at 6 months of age. Buy books for presents. Let your child have his/her own bookshelf, so he/she has access to books whenever he/she wants them. Let your children see you read. Get magazine subscriptions. Go to the library. etc. Talk about things you read.
Then I taught my dd sight words--I've included a link. Basically those are really common words that she will come across a lot in reading. I had her memorize those words (using flashcards). When you think about it, we as adults have memorized most of the words we read--we very rarely have to use our phonics skills to sound something out.
One thing that children have a hard time realizing is that a word stays the same --- the same combination of letters will always be the same word. (Some children doing phonics think that they have to re-figure out a word each and every time they come across that word.)
I also pointed out individual words as I read to her. ("That's the word "dog." )
Simulataneous to memorizing words, I had my daughter learn the ABCs. (The "song" and what the letters look like.)
Then, after my daughter had been "reading" some words for awhile (the words she had memorized), I began to talk about sounds--the sounds of letters and how sounds join together to make words. ("Phonics" means "sounds".) I also taught her "tricky" sounds--like ph makes the f sound.
Some sound combinations to teach:
(I don't like all the "vowel rules" of phonics because they don't always work.)
So, in a nutshell:
sight words--memorization from flashcards
Good luck! If you haven't been reading to your child all along, this will take longer.
P.S. If you have some extra money to spend on this, I would spent it on computer games that teach reading-- "Reader Rabbit Saves Wordville" is my daughter's favorite.)
To teach reading, you need phonics.
I used Macmillian (the plaid) series and Samuel Blumenfield's Alphaphonics.
Also read Jim Trelease's book the Read-Aloud Book since to teach is to encourage. When your child sees you and your SO reading together or to each other or just enjoying reading your child will see that it is an enjoyable experience, and will want to learn to read even more.
Here is what we like:
"BOB books". cute funny short stories that introduce letter sounds in a logical easy to learn order one book at a time. There are 12-8 books in each set and 5 sets. I was amazed at how smoothly dd progressed. $17.50 per set. Our library had the first three sets. bonus
Teach Your Child to read in 100 easy lessons. Not the most exciting book in the world but it does have children reading simple words (the same words as the bob books even) by day 1 or 2 and only takes 10-15 a day to complete. We never finished all the lessons because thier type was hard for dd to read. They use a special phonetic alphebet to spell words and they sware children will transition effortlessly to the regular alphabet but mine didn't. It was a serious hang up for dd. also they don't actually teach children the phonetic rules they just excpect them to absorb them which just wasn't happening. So it played a good roll but wasn't the all inclusive manual it was advertised at. Certainly wrht the $21 I paid for it though.
For my next child we will use "Explode the Code." This is a work book based program that goes through all the letters and covers everything eventually. I am not sure how many books there are or how many you actualkly need but there are al least 12 and they range in price from $6-$14 I think. (And they cover several years of reading and writing skills.)
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My dd was WAY ready to learn to read though, so another method (or perhaps even no method) would have worked too.
Some kids do fine learning to read without phonics. They are the exception. Study after study has shown that most children do best learning to read when the stress in on letter/sound correspondences. http://www.nrrf.org/ has a lot of good, well researched info on it.
There have already been several good and inexpensive programs listed. My kids really like the Bob books and we use Explode the Code workbooks. The only other thing we use (which hasn't been listed yet) is Reading Reflex. This is a book that I bought and Barnes and Noble for less than $20. It has little word puzzles that I cut out and the girls work on. They really enjoy it and it is very solid instruction.
What exactly would you like to know? I have a feeling I may be able to help.
Where do I start? He has begun to TRY to read in English, but gets frustrated because of all the rules and exceptions. He sounds the words out phonetically with the German pronunciation and then many times is able to change the pronunciation to English.
I just don't even know how to begin to teach him these site words and such. Also I don't want it to be a chore for him...
Good luck, and don't push. Try getting ladybug magazine for your son, a new issue every month to keep him intrested. You can change to Spider mid-year when he's ready.
But research on 2nd language learning at school age shows that fluency needs to happen in the 1st language 1st, then the 2nd language 2nd. That's not to say that you can't learn them simultaneously, there just needs to be an emphasis on the reading/writing/speaking/content learning in one!
Bravo to him for being able to recognize mispronunciations and changing them. Keep letting him do that on his own.
Since it's the 'rules and exceptions' that are stumping him (they often do) you may want to ask him if he would like to work on one of those "Explode the Code" type books.
Many people also use flash cards for the high freqeuncy sight words. If you need a good list of them, let me know. But I'm sure they are all over the INternet.
It's my understanding that his direct English language and reading instruction will happen in 5th grade (isn't that the way it happens in Swiss schools?) So like I said before, don't force it. Have fun. you could create book clubs for him. Maybe even a mother-son book club where you only read English books. He could keep a reading journal of his English books that he has read.
Hope this helps in any way. Please let me know if you are wondering anything else.